Compassion Focused SIG

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Compassion Focused Special Interest Group

Affiliated 2013

Contact Information

Dennis Tirch, Ph.D.
Director, The Center for Mindfulness and Compassion Focused Therapy
New York, NY, USA

2013-2015 Officers

Dennis Tirch – President
Paul Gilbert - Executive Board Member
Martin Brock – Executive Board Member
Benji Schoendorf – Executive Board Member
Laura Silberstein – Executive Board Member
Emily Winch – Student Representative, Board Member

Description of Interest Area

The main focus of this SIG parallels the ACBS mission statement in that it is dedicated to the advancement of compassion focused science and practice so as to alleviate human suffering and advance human well being. It is clear that the Contextual Behavioral Science movement, functional contextualist philosophy, RFT research and ACT and FAP clinical applications all can expand and refine our science of compassion. The account of perspective taking, empathy and compassion that continues to evolve within the CBS community can allow us to understand compassion with increasing clarity, which allows us to frame scientific, testable questions. This can allow us to develop more effective ways to shape and train compassion and compassion in the context of therapy. Beyond this, the idea of applying CBS and EvoS principles to the creation of more functional and compassionate groups and societies continues to grow within the ACBS community.

Bringing the lens of CBS to a focus on compassion can also open bridges to the study of the evolution of eusociality, cooperation, and may overlap with the advancement of a functional contextualist neuroscience of human attachment and affiliation. A natural cooperation and dialogue with organizations such as Stanford University's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and the Mind and Life Institute may be a part of some of what this SIG can do.

During the Spring/Summer of 2013, the Board will define it's valued aims and goals, specific roles for board members, the consitution of committees, and the movement towards our valued aims.  We invite other ACBS members to join us on this path.

SIG Mission

To promote the alleviation of human suffering through the continued scientific investigation, understanding and application of compassion via:

1. Creating an accepting, active, values based compassion focused group of “researchers, educators, and practitioners who will work in a collegial, open, self-critical, non-discriminatory, and mutually supportive way that is effective in producing valued outcomes”.
2. Helping to identify researchers and others who have a specific interest in the scientific study of compassion and its underlying processes, and facilitate communication and interchange between them, while balancing “practical application and empirical knowledge.”
3. Supporting research and teaching of the compassion focused approaches to human difficulties with the continued use and “development of basic principles, workable applied theories linked to these principles, effective applied technologies based on these theories, and successful means of training and disseminating these developments, guided by the best available scientific evidence”
4. Facilitating open discussion on how to further promote a compassionate focus in many domains of the ACBS community and further dissemination and training by conducting workshops, research and sponsored talks about compassion focused research and therapy.

Description of SIG membership 

In the interest of fostering inclusion, as a part of the values of ACBS, this is SIG open to any ACBS members, including students, researchers, clinicians, scientists and trainers.

SIG Activities

Business meetings, conference events/poster sessions, peer supervision groups, publications/research, participation in CMF annual conference/summit, web presence, on-line training.